Huffpost Politics

Herman Cain 2012: 'I Left The Democrat Plantation A Long Time Ago'

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Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Monday night on Fox News' "The Sean Hannity Show" that he "left the Democratic plantation," echoing language used by African-American Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) this summer.

Hannity asked the former Godfather's Pizza CEO about Harry Belafonte calling him a "totally false bad apple."

"As far as Harry Belafonte's comment, look, I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago. And all that they try to do when someone like me -- and I'm not the only black person out there that shares these conservative views -- the only tactic that they have to try and intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names, and this sort of thing. It just simply won't work," he said.

West described himself as a "modern-day Harriet Tubman" last August on Fox News.

"You have this 21st-century plantation that has been out there. Where the Democrat party has forever taken the black vote for granted and you have established certain black leaders who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset because they've been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about," he said.

He later said said Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) were "overseers of this 21st-century plantation" and social welfare programs were "liberal economic enslavement." Waters said the comments were "a little bit outrageous" and "a little bit ridiculous."

Jesse Jackson said Cain's comments were "insulting," in an interview with Politico. "Those are very strong words. ... It’s both demeaning and insulting."

Cain has surged in the polls recently, and a Gallup poll released Monday showed him trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by two points, 20-18, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 15 percent.

Cain said to Hannity, "Ever since that Florida straw poll, there's been this big bullseye on my back. It's coming from Harry Belafonte, it's coming from Professor [Cornel] West. It's coming from everybody who do not like the fact that I, as an American black conservative, am in a position to be able to speak my mind and tell the truth and wake people up."

"They don't want to wake people up, especially black people," he said.

Cain has made a number of racially charged comments recently. Just Tuesday he said that President Barack Obama has "never been a part of the black experience in America." He said recently that some in the black community "have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view."

He also said Rick Perry was "insensitive" for once having a family hunting camp once had the word "Niggerhead" painted on a large rock at its entrance. He walked back his comments after being accused of playing the "race card" by saying the word was insensitive, not Perry.

Cain insisted in the Hannity interview that other African-Americans were upset with him because they did not want African-Americans to "think for themselves." "This is why they are so upset with Herman Cain who is now moving into the top tier for the Republican presidential nomination," he said.

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